Today’s news:

Sugary treats aren’t so sweet

The city Health Department is launching a campaign to encourage New Yorkers to give up their favorite sugary drinks.

In addition to soda and fruit juice, frosty coffee drinks can “pour on the pounds.”

According to the department, “In a survey of approximately 3,000 purchases from 115 restaurant chains, brewed coffee or tea %u2013 served black, with milk, with sugar, or with milk and sugar %u2013 averaged 63 calories. The same chains’ blended beverages %u2013 prepared at the counter and often pre-sweetened, milk-based, ice-blended or pre-mixed %u2013 averaged 239 calories. That’s 89 calories more than a typical can of soda.”

“Sugary drinks shouldn’t be a part of our everyday diet,” said city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. “Drinking beverages loaded with sugars increases the risk of obesity and associated problems, particularly diabetes but also heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer.”

Officials encourage locals to opt for water, seltzer or low-fat milk.

To learn how many calories are in your favorite drinks, visit www.nyc.gov/health.

Grocery stores and fresh food retail shops could be coming to first-floor retail developments in underserved areas in Brooklyn, after the City Planning Commission approved a zoning amendment on Setpember 23.

In the proposal, the city would offer zoning and tax incentives that would allow developers to construct larger buildings than permitted by existing zoning and give tax abatements for approved stores in several community board districts throughout the city.The zoning text amendment was written to encourage the growth of retail grocery stores that set aside space for fresh produce, meats, and vegetables.

“This is about being able to walk to get your groceries in those areas that are really, really underserved and basically have no place to buy fresh produce,” said City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden.

Borough President Marty Markowitz has championed the initiative, which he believes will help lead to the long-term reduction of obesity rates throughout Brooklyn.

“I applaud the Department of City Planning, along with the Economic Development Corporation, for supporting these efforts and promoting the development of neighborhood grocery stores and supermarkets in high-need neighborhoods such as those in Brooklyn Community Districts 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 16 and 17,” said Markowitz.

Luxury Italian watchmaker Officine Panerai is introducing a Brooklyn Bridge Special Edition timepiece, honoring the one-year anniversary of the brand’s first boutique in the city, albeit in Manhattan, Forbes reported.

The Neuchatel, Switzerland-based watchmaker known for fusing Swiss technology with classic Italian design opened its first shop on Madison Avenue, where the new Brooklyn Bridge Luminor Marina will be sold.

The timepiece features a mammoth 44-millimeter stainless steel case whose back has on it an engraving of the bridge.

The price is a recession-busting (or inducing) $4,200, considered a good entry point for the pricey Panerai line.

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Thomas Farley, commissioner of the city Health Department, have issued an open letter to parents of public school children.

In it, they explained that the city will not temporarily close schools with swine flu outbreaks, as was done last spring to allow for the buildings to be cleaned.

“Given what we now know about the virus and how it is spread, this school year the Department of Education and the Health Department are adopting an open school policy,” they wrote. “This means that when the flu returns in the fall, we do not plan to close schools with high levels of flu activity.Instead, we will work with parents and other members of the school community to keep our schools open.”

For more information about how to protect your family from swine flu, call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/flu.

Fort Greene State Senator Eric Adams wants Brooklyn to brace for the swine flu.

Joining several doctors from the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Adams recently demonstrated the proper use of tools in what is now being known as the H1N1 Family Flu Defense Kit, which includes face masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and disinfectants.

“Preventive measures are the first line of defense and a prudent approach includes the acquisition of supplies that will comprise a Family Flu Defense Kit,” he said. “It is essential that New York State be prepared and our citizenry should be educated in the use of these resources.”

Anyone can build their own defense kit, said Adams, who is currently penning legislation that would require employers to post H1N1 influenza related information at state work places.

Join members of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Office of Financial Empowerment as they hold a special Financial Empowerment Fair in Brooklyn.

Gathering at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, on October 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., DCA representatives will be providing one-on-one counseling services, as well as group workshops geared toward “providing New Yorkers with financial fitness check-ups.”

Group workshops held throughout the day will focus on credit, debt and homeownership, and mortgages. New Yorkers can also get free information on budgeting, savings, debt concerns, foreclosure prevention, identity theft prevention and more. Free government benefit screenings are also available.

For more information about the fair, visit nyc.gov/ofe.

Brooklyn institutions have been the beneficiaries of federal stimulus research grants.

In total, four borough institutions were awarded $4.64 million worth of research grants for 16 projects, said New York Governor David Paterson, out of $605.5 million awarded to a range of institutions across the state.

The funding is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and is being allocated through various federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

“The key to a growing economy is investing in innovation,” noted Paterson, “by turning discoveries into business opportunities.” The funding awarded to state institutions “will help ensure that New York remains a leader in research as we continue to work with our universities to build bridges from research to application,” he added.

The Brooklyn institutions receiving the grants are SUNY Downstate Medical College, which will get over $2.2 million to be used on eight different projects; Brooklyn College, which will receive over $1.9 million for six projects; Medgar Evers College, which will receive over $340,000 for a collaboration with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Center; and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which will receive about $200,000.

The projects range from an investigation of climate change to a study on cholesterol buildup.

“Thanks to the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, our community will have the opportunity to participate in vital research projects with far-reaching benefits,” remarked Representative Edolphus Towns.

The grants will pay dividends, added Representative Yvette Clarke. “These funds will go a long way in boosting Brooklyn’s local economy by creating jobs,” she said.

The security system at Kingsborough Community College is being modernized.

Thanks to an allocation of $223,000 made to the school by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Kingsborough will be able both to upgrade and to expand its existing security system, as well as to consolidate monitoring into one location.

With the upgrade, security coverage of the Manhattan Beach campus will be doubled. Now, approximately 30 percent of the waterfront campus is covered by the school’s surveillance system. After the installation of the new equipment, that will rise to approximately 60 percent.

“These funds will help us to continue to provide the safe and secure environment that is so essential for learning,” noted Regina Peruggi, the school’s president.

Approximately 30,000 people visit the Kingsborough campus each week, according to Peruggi.

Eco-friendly activists, environmentalists and eco-conscious celebrities are abuzz as the Brooklyn waterfront community of Vinegar Hill recently celebrated the completion of its first green condominium development at 100 Gold Street.

Developed by The REDD Group, and architect Anthony Morena, who’sknown as “The Green Crusader,” the 5-story, 10-unit building offers several green amenities along with the 9-foot windows providing ample natural daylight and Manhattan views.

Among these amenities are gas-fired, wall-hung boilers in each unit that will save up to 40 percent on heating costs, recycled glass tile used for backsplashes in each kitchen, zero-VOC paint, recycled-content roof pavers, hand-blown light fixtures, and on-site bicycle storage area, dual flush toilets and compact fluorescent lights.

Boerum Hill Halstead Property Development Marketing and co-developers R & E Brooklyn Inc. and Green Depot last week announced the opening of sales for 93 Nevins,an environmentally friendly two-unit townhouse development located at 93 Nevins Street and 453 Pacific Street in Boerum Hill.

93 Nevins is a two-unit converted development that “reinvents the urban townhouse, showcasing finishes and building systems that set the bar for energy efficiency, healthy indoor air quality, and low embodied energy,” the developers said.

Not only is the building energy efficient, it also has the capability to produce energy, thanks to roof-top solar panels. When residents switch on a light or use any electric device,up to half the electricity they use will have been generated by photovoltaic panels installed on the roof.

“We hope to set the standard for building practices in New York City,” said lead developer Rolf Grimsted. “The homes at 93 Nevins and 453 Pacific provide an urban oasis for residents, while helping to safeguard their health and significantly reduce their carbon footprint.”

Construction is now complete and the two homes are available for immediate occupancy.The townhouse at 453 Pacific is 3,059 square feet and 93 Nevins is 3,079 square feet; both have three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, planted terraces and private garages and are each priced at $2,595,000.

To send in tips, e-mail editorial@cnglocal.com attn: Borough Briefs.

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